||This illustration is from Laura Bryant and Barry Klein's Body Measurement Chart (available as part of the new DVD, Yarn to Fit). They provide blank spaces for each of the measurements shown above—you'll be all set to knit any garment for yourself. I want to fill out one of these for each of the people I knit for, too!
There are so many elements that go into making a well-fitting knitted sweater. Length, width, ease, yarn choice, appropriate gauge, and so on.
One of the most important, though, isn't listed above. It's your measurements. I know, measuring yourself is never super fun, but knowing your measurements is essential to knitting
sweaters that fit.
My knitting group got together a couple of years ago and had a measuring party—we buddied up and took each others' measurements and wrote them all down. We
need to do that again since it's been awhile. Here's hoping my measurements
have stayed the same or even gotten a tiny bit smaller!
Designers and authors
Laura Bryant and Barry Klein are knitting experts and they know how to take measurements for knitting a sweater that fits. In their new Knitting Daily workshop Yarn to Fit, they demonstrate how to take body measurements, and how to use them when knitting all kinds of garments.
Laura and Barry also provide lots of info about that mysterious element:
Laura measures and tries on several sweaters and demonstrates how positive ease
(a garment that measures a little larger than a person's measurements) and
negative ease (a garment that measures a little smaller than a person's
measurements) affect how the garment looks.
One of the most interesting parts of the workshop is a segment about fixing completed knitwear that doesn't fit correctly. For example, you can use cord elastic to fit drooping shoulders, neckbands, too-loose cuffs, and so on. Pretty neat!
It might be counter-intuitive, but the garment with negative ease is much more
flattering. I love this visual evidence—so many of us make our sweaters too
big! Once when my knitting group was trying on sweaters for one of the the Interweave
Knits galleries, almost everyone thought a certain sweater wasn't going to fit them. When it did I could see the light bulbs go on—"I think I've been making my
sweaters too big" was the quote of the evening.
Laura and Barry have made a handy chart available for download, too. It's from
their book The New Knitter's Template, and it provides blank spaces for
every measurement you'll ever need. This chart and a few other helpful charts are available with the workshop.
Get Yarn to Fit (or download it) and host a viewing/measuring party with your knitting group. You'll
have a ball watching the DVD and then measuring each other. A glass of wine or two really gets the ball rolling once the measuring starts!